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Who doesn’t love cute shoes, right?
While I have nothing against cute shoes because I’m sure a sucker for them too, I’m not sure what it is with our shoe obsession as women. I mean, why the need for closets full of shoes, especially ones we don’t wear? Do we really need 20 pairs of shoes? Or more? Think for a minute. If we own 20 pairs of shoes and wear one pair a day, we’d wear each pair of shoes only 18.25 days out of the year.
Truth is, it’s not that expensive to fill up our closet with cute shoes. If we only wear them a handful of times, what’s the big deal? They didn’t cost that much to begin with.
Hence, the problem isn’t cute shoes themselves. It’s how easy it is to buy them.
Shoes, like clothing can be created cheaply. And sold cheaply. So we can have a full closet, when really, all one needs is a few pairs.
Our assumed need for shoes makes me think about Laura Ingalls Wilder describing Pa’s broken shoes and his desperate need for a new pair. And when he finally had money for new ones, he met the pastor on the long journey to town and gave him his shoe money for a new church bell, saying he could do without new shoes, even though the condition in which she described them said otherwise.
Somehow, our mentality has to change. And that change starts with us. Somehow we have to realize that a closet full of shoes might look pretty, but doesn’t fulfill a need. Why not spend money on a good pair of quality-made shoes that makes a difference for the life of the shoemaker than the same amount for several pairs that we don’t really need?
I don’t think I’ll ever forget the scene in the movie, True Cost. The one with the piles of black shoes. Black shoes that likely ended up in some cheap shoe store. There was something about that scene that was haunting actually. In a single scene, the problem of consumerism, the problem of American mentality that everything should be cheap, was laid out in this mountain of black shoes.
So what’s a consumer to do? Can we really have cute shoes and make a difference in someone’s life?
Enter The Root Collective. Handmade shoes, people.
The Root Collective’s motto is “create a culture of kindness.” As consumers, our purchases make a difference. We make a statement with the kind of businesses we choose to support with our money. What kind of statement do you want to make?
Taken directly from their website:
The Root Collective is bucking the trends of mass production by focusing on handcrafted quality where the impact on the lives of our makers, and the role of your purchases in that, is the focus. Real people with real faces and real names make our products, and we believe they should be treated with kindness. You directly impact their lives by buying our products because that fuels jobs. Jobs mean families are fed, children go to school, and people are empowered. Jobs can change so much. Wanting to change the world can be overwhelming. But you can simply start here.
According to Otto, who you see in the video below, “making shoes is sacred work.”
Shoes made by hand. From start to finish. Seriously. Take four minutes to watch this video, meet Bethany, the founder and see how your purchase provides redemptive work for men and women.
As I’ve mentioned before, when you buy handmade skin care, you know where your products came from when you wash or face or put on your makeup.
The same holds true when you put on a pair of shoes. The power of knowing where your clothing, your shoes, your products come from is a game changer. It makes you think. When you get dressed, you think about the people behind your outfit.
When I put on my shoes from The Root Collective, I think about who made them and where they come from. I think about Otto, the gang member turned shoe maker who sees a vision for his community. If someone compliments my shoes, it gives me a chance to share, to tell people I know where they come from. It makes them think about whether they can say the same.
My hope, is that it encourages them to dig a little deeper.
I’ve said this before and I’ll keep saying it. Shop small. Shop handmade. Use the power of your purchase for good. The way we choose to spend money makes a direct statement about the kind of world we want to live in.